Lititz is known far and wide for its memorable Fourth of July celebrations. At its 197th, Lititz remembers another legendary American icon celebrating its 75th anniversary – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s classic film dramatization of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“It’s a fusion between Oz and patriotism, and No Place Like Lititz,” says Tim Reedy, general chairman of the July 4 committee.
This year, smaller acts scheduled for the day will be set up throughout the park. Acts include singing groups, magicians, kids’ activities, a small train, family entertainment and more.
“It’s a lot more family friendly,” says Reedy. “We want to draw in as many people as we can to the park.”
The park will be decorated similarly to The Wizard of Oz. The welcome center will look like Munchkinland and the bandshell will resemble Emerald City. Decorations throughout the park will also have an Oz theme, and the ruby slippers just might make an appearance during the Queen of Candles ceremony.
Sebastian Janoski will perform leading up to the fireworks display, which will be presented by the company Celebration Fireworks with sound by Clair Global. WJTL’s Lisa Landis will return as this year’s emcee.
Kingsfoil will again be this year’s headlining act.
“The committee received rave reviews about their show and received numerous requests to have them back this year,” Reedy said.
However, this year’s performance will be without drummer Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame, as Muniz has moved on to other projects.
According to Reedy, The Lititz July 4 celebration, which began in 1818, is the second oldest continuous July 4 celebration in the country. The candle ceremony was originally started by the Moravian church to represent freedom. The ceremony is still recognized today with four to five thousand candles lit throughout the park at dusk.
“I’d like to see people living in the surrounding area, give it a shot this year. It’s great entertainment,” said Reedy.
The gates of Lititz Springs Park open at noon on July 4 to the theme “July 4th &tstr;There’s No Place Like Lititz.” A food court will be operating in the parking lot throughout the day.
Other day-long activities include: games of skill, historical displays by local businesses and the Lititz Historical Foundation.
There will be lots for the kids to do prior to 5 p.m. The “Munchkinland Railroad” (courtesy of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society), and Munchkinland KidZone, featuring games and much more will keep kids busy during daylight hours.
The day includes: Insanity Factor (balloons and magic), juggler Vanden Grube, a barbershop quartet, Jack Hubley, Dance Dynamix, Lisa Landis and the Kids Cookie Break Car, Cylo, Hershey characters, storytime, hot air balloon rides, panning for gold, trivia contests for prizes a pie eating contest and inflatables.
12 p.m. – Park gates open
12:30 to 1:30 p.m. – Intriguing Games – Munchkinland KidZone (sponsored by Grace Church)
1:30 p.m. – Panning for Gold with Gen. John A. Sutter, portrayed by James Nuss – Emerald Park Lititz Run (sponsored by the Lititz Women of Today)
2 p.m. – Dance Dynamix – Good Witch’s Reedy Pavilion
2 p.m. – Children’s Story Telling by Rita Clarke – Cowardly Lion’s Burkholder Pavilion
2 to 2:30 p.m. – Intriguing Games – Munchkinland KidZone
2 to 4 p.m. – Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides – Scarecrow’s Ambuc Field (sponsored by the Ephrata National Bank)
2 to 7 p.m. – Inflatables, Hershey Characters, Clowns, Jugglers, The Insanity Factor, Balloon Sculptor and Magic Shows, and Minstrels – throughout Emerald Park
3 p.m. – Jack Hubley’s “Critters Beyond Your Back Door” – Good Witch’s Reedy Pavilion
3 p.m. – Baby Parade Registration – Emerald Park Town Square Oehme Gazebo (sponsored by the Lititz Women of Today)
3:30 p.m. – Pie Eating Contest – Emerald Park Town Square Oehme Gazebo
4 p.m. – 25th Annual Baby Parade – Along the Red, White & Blue Emerald Park Pathway; start at Emerald Park Town Square Oehme Gazebo to the head-end Basin
4:50 p.m. – Star Spangled Salute (200th Anniversary Commemoration) Hon. Tim Snyder, Lititz Mayor Emerald Park Band Shell
5 p.m. – Lititz Community Band – Heidi Limbert, Director – Emerald Park Band Shell
5:30 to 6 p.m. – Intriguing Games – Munchkinland KidZone
6:30 p.m. – Kingsfoil – Emerald Park Band Shell
8 p.m. – “Wizard of Oz Tribute” – Emerald Park Band Shell
8:30 p.m. – 73rd Queen of the Candles Pageant – Emerald Park Band Shell (sponsored by the Lititz Woman’s Club)
8:50 p.m. – 171st Grand Illumination of Candles – along Emerald Park Lititz Run
9:15 p.m. – Sebastian Janoski – Scarecrow’s Ambuc Field Stage
9:45 p.m. – Pyrotechnics Extravaganza with Synchronized Pyromusical by Celebration Fireworks and Clair Global – Scarecrow’s Ambuc Field viewing area
Admission to the park on July 4th is $10 per person. Ages 12 and under get in free. Advance tickets are available at Lititz Welcome Center (Train Station), McElroy Pharmacy, Stauffers of Kissel Hill and Bomberger’s.
Credit cards will be accepted for ticket purchase at certain gates. Memorabilia will be available for purchase in the park. An ATM machine will be set up within the park for your convenience. To learn more, visit ititzspringspark.org/july4/.